Why I Write

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These last two months, I haven’t written much. I wanted to, of course, but haven’t. A paralyzing bout of depression has made it impossible, and I still don’t know if I’m back, or to what capacity I’m back. Looking back, it’s like a blur, these weeks of doing nothing but playing facebook games and watching tv shows. There’s little variation, there’s no guarantee it’s over.

I didn’t mean this post to be this dark, sorry. But it’s the place where I’m at. Not writing, or not writing much, is part of the problem for me, because I’m always happier when I write. Really write. Every day. Several hours, words by the hundreds, then thousands, because that’s what happens: if you write every day, you write more, faster, hopefully better too.

But when you don’t write, things just stop. Maybe that’s already one reason I write, because life goes on. Writing is part of my life, and life usually happens much more when I write. Confidence has a lot to do with that because I really hold that writing does take confidence. And maybe I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s usually so much clearer when you don’t have it that you need it.

Note: Writing is life.

As a kid, I was about 11, I guess, I started telling myself bedtime stories. Usually, I’d fall book2asleep in the middle of it just as it should be with bedtime stories, but sometimes it got so intense that I would get up two hours later, walk into the living room or my parent’s bedroom (depending on if they’d already gone to bed) and tell my mom I couldn’t sleep. I never told her that the reason of not being able to sleep was that I told myself stories and my mind just wouldn’t shut down. She’d give me something to drink, put me back to bed. Sometimes, I would continue the story. Other times, I’d force myself not to and fall asleep.

Not being able to shut stories out, is another reason why I write. Sure, I could’ve just continued to tell myself my stories and never tell another soul about them. But as I continued my education, I found I had a knack for telling stories, I wanted to tell them, not just to myself, though I’m still my favorite audience.

If you know writers you probably heard them say that they cannot not write. It’s because stories keep coming. It’s how we process everything that’s happening in the course of one day, how we cope.

Note: Stories won’t stop telling themselves in my head – I need to get them out of there.

I was about 16 when I wrote a short story for a competition (I never sent it in, but I still wrote that story, finished it). The competition’s head line was ‘The dream of the magic word’ – it doesn’t really make that much sense, but I figured they wanted a sappy love story. What I wrote instead was a story about a woman how had HIV. After I finished it, I told a class mate about it (one of those rare moments where I opened up and shared a secret, I guess). She wanted to read it, I didn’t really want her to read it, but she was persuasive so I gave it to her – handwritten at the time. A few days later, I get a call from her. She’d shown the story to her mom and her mom had cried. I can honestly say, I’d never been as proud of myself as I was in that moment.

Note: I like making people cry. And laugh. Feel with my characters.

I’m not saying this is a complete list of reasons. And they vary so much through the times I’ve lived, for different reasons. I’ll never forgot the pride in my mom’s eyes when she held my first published work in her hands. Or the time a friend texted me that she was reading my book and was delighted that she shared a character’s name. Amazon reviews, praise from your math teacher, some distant relative asking for a signed copy of your work, those are all reasons for writing, too.

I just needed to remind myself why I write. Because there’s only one reason I do not write, one reason that shuts me down in life. And that’s – I’m afraid.

So why do you write? And do you partake in NaNo? Tell me in the comments.

CAKE – for everyone!

Those who know me a little know that I love cake, because whenever I congratulate one of my facebook friends on their birthday, I wish them cake (besides other more neglectable stuff like health and luck and all that). Because cake, like musicals, make me happy.

And I’m especially happy today, because Jove Belle – author, editor, and all-around super awesome person – is joining us today to tell us about her new novella. And it’s called – Cake. Seriously, how can you not want it already? I know you do.

And here’s Jove:

cake-jovebelle

The thing about writing is there’s always a clear goal. Every story starts with Once upon a time (or some variation on that theme) and finishes with The End.

Some people track their progress with charts and spreadsheets. Others with online support and reporting. Others simple mark the occasion by announcing a new release.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of whatever method works. And, the thing is, a system that worked for one book, that doesn’t mean it will work for the next.

I’ve published seven novels and a novella, and everyone of them have been written with a different method.

I wrote Edge of Darkness with Wyatt on my lap. He turns twelve next month.

I plotted out Split the Aces while sitting in a work conference in Las Vegas.

Love and Devotion was written while I was still grieving the loss of my mother.

Cake, my latest release, started out as a short story that I just couldn’t let stay short. I really like these two women and wanted to give them a little more time to get to know each other. And, coincidentally, Cake is my first release with Ylva Publishing. As a novella, it’s a bite sized treat, and it is priced accordingly. $2.99 is, in my opinion, a pretty affordable dessert. I hope you enjoy it.

Cake:

Kelly and Elana’s relationship is a recipe for disaster. First, they meet at a wedding, and that never works. Second, Kelly’s older brother is marrying Elana’s ex-lover. And third, Elana is still painfully, undeniably in love with said ex.

When it comes to other people’s lives, Elana Verdad is an expert. As a licensed psychologist and life coach, she helps people overcome obstacles. Her own life, on the other hand, is a disaster. Her lover left her for a man, so she drove over his mailbox accidentally on purpose. Now, not only did the judge take away her driver’s license, he also assigned her to community service at the local women’s prison. In what may be her worst idea ever, Elana decides to crash their wedding.

Kelly Miller may not understand her brother’s rush to marry his girlfriend, but when he asks her to bake his wedding cake, it’s not as if she can refuse. She’s in the catering business after all. At the wedding, she meets a beautiful, complicated, and seriously damaged woman. Although Kelly knows it’s crazy, she’s drawn to her nonetheless.

Despite the reasons they shouldn’t be together, there’s still an undeniable something between them. All they need is a chance to enjoy their slice of the cake.
Jove Belle has been a part of the lesbian fiction publishing community for almost a decade.
In addition to being an author and editor, Jove is a founding member and co-admin of the popular lesbian fiction blog Women and Words. She also works as a consultant with Book Enthusiast Promotions, an online marketing company for fiction authors, and as Operations Director US for Ylva Publishing.

BUY CAKE:
Ylva Publishing (EXCLUSIVE until March 2! OMG! GO GET IT! RUN!)
Available March 2 at all other sites:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Germany
Amazon Australia
Smashwords
Kobo

Find Jove at these social media links

Another Pep Talk [for Writers]

Hello writer. Hello author. Hello scribe.

Today is Friday, 13th. Let me ask you, are you superstitious?

I am. Not about Friday, 13th, but about Thursday, 12th. Yesterday, I wasn’t aware that it was Thursday, 12th, but today I can say: oh, that’s why. Yeah. Because I couldn’t get it quite right yesterday. The writing thing.

You know those days, don’t you? You know moments like this. You know the time when one sentence drives you up a wall. For whatever reason. Sometimes it’s just not working, other times it’s a reason in your head. Like a superstition:

“I can’t write today, because I woke up facing north.” “I can’t write today, because my favorite pen’s gone missing. No, I don’t care that I write on my computer, I can’t write until I found my pen.” “I can’t write today, because it’s my birthday, and writing on birthdays is especially bad luck.” “I can’t write today…”

Those reasons are in our head, and they’re all bullshit. Like “I can’t write today, because it’s Friday, 13th. I’ll hide under my blanket all day, hoping that nothing heavy falls on my head.” Of course, it’s non-sensical, but think about how many people in your live reference this day as an unlucky one and you’ll get an idea how powerful superstitions can be.

As human beings we make things up in our heads all the time. Not necessarily stories (not everybody is able to do that), but theories, memories, whatever. And especially theories can make us stray from our writing path. “I have this theory that before I can write a novel about Paris in 1786, I have to research everything that happened that year, not just in France, but everywhere. I need to know the name of every person who lived and died in Paris that year, etc. etc. etc.” You’ll never write that novel, friend.

I’m not saying, don’t do research. Research is important, but don’t let your theory of how much research you should do keep you from writing. There’s a difference between accurate and over-prepared. There’s also a difference between being a writer and being a person who maybe one day wants to write a novel, or maybe a short story, or an essay.

You are a writer. You do your chores thinking about fictional characters’ lives. You sit down, tapping away on your computer. You never walk anywhere without a notebook. And if you, by some miracle, are found without paper and pen, you borrow, you buy, (I’m not saying you steal, but maybe you’ve been desperate once or twice, I don’t judge). Because you’re a writer.

And as a writer, you have to be resistent to those voices in your head telling you ten to twenty good reasons every day to not write. To do other things instead. To go out meet friends. To call your mom, telling her you’re gonna visit soon. To quickly go to the grocery store, because you can’t possibly write without some snack, and chocolate, maybe a beer (don’t drink and write, folks). To get a (non-Christian) soy latte from Starbucks. You don’t need it, but you want it. And, goddamn, you’re gonna get it and then you write 3,500 words in one go, unless…and there’s going to be an unless. And if it’s only in your head.

The world does not revolve around your writing. Nobody cares if you write 1,000 words or 2,000, or maybe 7,000 today. So why should you?

Well, because your world revolves around your writing. Because writing is art, is expression, is culture. And human beings can’t live without either of those things. Because someone is gonna read what you’ve written, and even though you may not change that persons life, you’ve given them something unique, and special, something spending time with.

You’re a writer and your text is worth more than all the reasons you can come up with to not write today.

I’m writing [4]

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Good morning, lovelies. As you can see by the picture above, I’m going a little overboard with the cover-making these days. This one is actually just a template, because it doesn’t fit Halfway Home at all.

That’s what I’m writing at now. I’ve finished my Halloween story Courage at about 15k which is mind-boggling for me. And now I’m at 71k with Halfway Home. Writing works at the moment and I couldn’t be happier. NaNo is giving me an additional push and I think I’ll be finishing Halfway Home at around 75k sometime next week.

It feels a little like magic, you know. Being able to write every day. The day after I’d finished Courage, I was like: meh! Don’t wanna write on a different story now! Wanna wallow in the feel of having finished a story and missing the characters! (Yes, that’s what it feels like.) But then I went on twitter and found NaNoWriMo sprints. And let me just say: these people are doing a hell of a job, giving you prompts to figure into your novel, cheerful, inspiring. So, I did some of those, just to get the feel of Halfway Home again. And it worked.

The next day, I could just work on it as if I’d never left. And it was a sexy love scene, too, and I hate writing those. Yesterday, I wasn’t really feeling it either, but I pushed myself through it. Somehow I’m working and somehow it doesn’t hurt at all.

You might wonder what I’m getting at with this. I’m not really sure myself. I’m using this platform as a writing diary of sorts (not to write every day, but to write about the experience). This is my experience at the moment. It’s the experience of why I love writing so much, because it can give you a feeling like nothing else can.

Having said that, I think I’d really like to thank my writing buddies, the fab peeps of NaNoWriMo, the coaches and sprint instructors, the authors who take the time for a pep talk, everybody involved in getting me going on that platform. I think NaNo is a great experience, and if you’ve never tried it maybe give it a go. It’s only the sixth, you can still jump on the moving train, sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo or wait till next year. (And yes, I’ve earned myself another badge with this paragraph, but I’m also feeling the thankful.)

I hope you’re writing. I hope you’re reading. I hope you love words. And I hope it all for you.

Later, lovelies.